The Performance

Passing was an all day event including the installation and performance, a Cultural Identity workshop and a reception for the artists.

"Passing" is part of a series of collaborative works begun by Michele Feder-Nadoff and Kanaan Kanaan (together calling themselves Menucha-Kanaan) in 2001 as a response to the on-going Middle East conflict and worldwide strife. Illuminated by their personal experiences of diasporas based on their respective Jewish and Muslim traditions, together as nenucha-kanaan they have created works that explore and symbolize the struggle and desire to maintain hope through trust.

Michele Feder-Nadoff and Kanaan Kanaan, known as menucha-kanaan
as a Jew and a Muslim:
we grew up having prayers for everything – for the rain
the thunder,
the sun rising,
for the wind,
the rainbow, and the washing of hands,
for death and birth.
Our work is like building a house and sweeping its floor together.

Preparation, 2012Michele Feder-Nadoff and Kanaan Kanaan prepare for the Passing performance.
FederNadoff_Kanaan, 2012Kanaan Kanaan and Michele Feder-Nadoff during the Passing performance.
Feder-Nadoff, 2012Michele Feder-Nadoff passing the thread.
Kanaan, 2012Kanaan Kanaan passing the thread.
Passing, 2012The end product of the Passing performance.

The Workshop

The artists provided a workshop for participants from West Salem High School which provided insights into cultural identity, in turn, promoted dialogue and trust. These two international artists together focus their collaborative performance works to explor similarities and differences to open a dialogue among cultures. They provided a brief presentation of their past collaborative works before engaging the students in a hands on task of building a community without words. While the artists washed the hands of the students in silence, the students arranged rocks on a carpet. Some selected to place their rocks alone while others built upon the placement from others to create small cairn and chains of rock patterns.

Workshop, 2012Michel Feder-Nadoff and Kanaan Kanaan lecturing during the workshop.
Students, 2012Working with the West Salem High School Students.
Rocks, 2012The final result of the rock workshop.


The 2011-2012 Hamersly Library exhibits theme was IDENTITY. The exhibits featured this year explored the characteristics that determine who we are. Our individual experiences, the communities we live in, and our culture all play a significant role in establishing our identity.